Born in Cortland, NY Kate has always been passionate about creating. She fell in love with art in High School and dreamt of being an artist. She met her husband in college and got married. Kate had a short time with pyrography and did plaques for Harley Davidson and some local restaurants. She continued to draw while she raised her three daughters. Kate learned to sew in college and later spent many years designing costumes for local theater and dance groups
Once she got to the empty nest stage in life, Kate decided now was the time to follow her dream of being a working artist. There have been many sources for her art education. College classes, books, art tutorials, and obsessive experimentation have afforded her a varied base of knowledge.
In the three years since becoming a full-time artist, Kate has shown her work in several local art shows where she won an honorable mention for both “Bird Song” and “Landscape Triptych”. She has also exhibited at Gallery Sitka in Fitchburg with her acrylic Wave paintings. Her work is in several collections locally.
Kate is currently working with the Give Them A Voice Foundation painting the stories of survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking. The new project uses metaphor in a visual way to express the transformation of loss into joy, healing, and strength for those in recovery. The paintings allow the survivors to see themselves in a new way in order to find hope for the future.
Meet Kate Shaffer
In considering the direction I wanted my art to take over the last two years, I realized that I wanted to be able to express the joy and hope that exists deep inside each of us. There were many things that made me seek out a brighter side to life. As a child, I was molested by a family member. As a young adult I was raped by someone I trusted. There were other things that many people can relate to. Bullying, ostracism, and the loss of people I love. It seemed to me that unless we actively looked for the joy it would pass us right by. I wanted to be able to show the overcoming strength that is there if we allow it to come out. I believe the perfect way to express this in a painting is through the use of the metaphor. Metaphor is the use of images to express abstract concepts visually. Metaphor is in every artist’s toolbox.
My self portrait was the perfect place to begin exploring the journey of metaphor in my art. I remember the first time I heard the legend of the Phoenix. The bird that can rise out of the ashes to be reborn resonated with me. I determined that I would see myself as a Phoenix, fighting to rise from the ashes a new, stronger person.
I want to be able to do that for others, as well. I want to be able to express visually those things that allow others to see their strength represented on canvas, and be able to tell their story. That is what I have made my mission statement… To be an artist whose passion is to express the transformation of loss into joy, healing and strength.
Art has done that for me, I pray my art can do that for others.
Using the words of literature and lyrics of music I create abstract backgrounds with images to tell stories. The edge of the pallet knife, the flat of the spatula allow layers of color and pure emotion to the painting. Texture from various media channel energy to make you want to reach out and touch the surface. Then pastels, paint, and charcoal are used to bring the story to focus on the canvas. Many of the paintings contain metaphor and merge the abstract with the literal to evoke a feeling with the story.